the Russian Orthodox Church in close ranks behind Vladimir Putin

It is no longer the time for silence in the ranks of the Russian Orthodox Church, but for explicit and unconditional support for Vladimir Putin and Kirill, the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russias. For two weeks, several Russian bishops have spoken to approve the military offensive in Ukraine ordered by the Russian president. This is a new fact because, during the first five weeks of military operations, Kirill, although totally aligned behind the Head of State, was the only one who spoke officially. Already on February 24, the patriarch had given religious support to the invasion of Ukraine, an operation that, according to him, acquires a “metaphysics” and that is delivered against the “forces of evil” hostile to the unity of the Russian people and the Church.

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“It seems that we are facing a great mobilization of the Russian episcopate, which supports the rhetoric of Vladimir Putin and also proceeds to a clamor to protect Patriarch Kirill”, explains Antoine Nivière, a professor at the University of Lorraine, a specialist in Russian cultural and religious history. The researcher associates this wave of position statements with the “general takeover of society” operated by the Russian authorities. He noted, since early April, several unequivocal positions taken by religious leaders, Russian websites report. One of these turiferous is, unsurprisingly, Tikhon Chevkunov.

“Common Thought”

An ultranationalist, reputed to be very close to Vladimir Putin and the FSB, the Russian intelligence service, the Metropolitan of Pskov questioned the faithful of his diocese on April 8: “Why was a decision of such grave consequences made by our president? (…) Based on the experience of my conversations with him, I can say that, if he had not considered that there were reasons of vital importance, an imminent danger to the Russian people, which made this operation essential, he would not have started it. . (…) If he had not done it now, but later, Russia would have been attacked, with the risk of having millions of victims (…) Let us remember the beginning of the Great Patriotic War [la seconde guerre mondiale] in 1941 and the terrible losses we had then. »

Bishop Sava, very high up in the central administration of the Moscow Patriarchate, did not agree with the idea that there would be pro and anti war. “There is no war party and peace party, he told the Russian Interfax news agency on April 7. There is no one who does not want to live in peace. » But, he added: “Do we need peace at the cost of the death of Russia, the trampling of our ideals, and ultimately ‘peaceful’ extermination? of the Russian people? »

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